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Air Cadets grounded?

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Air Cadets grounded?

Old 1st Nov 2015, 21:35
  #821 (permalink)  
 
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So many really erudite and professionally correct replies (and I am NOT being sarcastic!). However, this fiasco appears to be getting so complicated that I fear that it is only likely to be solved by at least an expert of 3* rank!!! (Now sarcastic!) Somewhere along the line the thread has been totally lost and, in the end, the only people suffering are the Cadets! DISGRACEFUL in this day and age!!
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Old 1st Nov 2015, 21:59
  #822 (permalink)  
 
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I doubt they will go after the previous contractor as somewhere in the system an RAF NCO/Officer would have had the responsibility of 'auditing' the contractor's activity, probably on an annual basis. This would have been part of the quality assurance and since that has lamentably failed, some awkward questions would be asked about the RAF's oversight.

You can imagine the headlines: "RAF learn nothing from Haddon-Cave and have been flying 14 year olds in death-trap aircraft, so dangerous that the entire fleet has now been grounded" when in reality the situation has been brought about by HC and a somewhat belated decision to use a much higher airworthiness yardstick.

As regards the recovery, unfortunately the RAF/MoD are so set in their ways (which are effective for large complex jet aircraft) that I don't really think they know how to deal with any organisation that is not set up like an expensive defence contractor.

I think the overall task would be better off split into two:

1. the Recovery, in which they should think out of the box and in addition to the UK, look to recruit individuals from across Europe as there are many composite light aircraft designed and manufactured on the continent. It would be necessary to appoint an overall technical head of the operation who would then coordinate the teams, plus possibly to sacrifice one airframe on which the 'hired-hands' would be shown the approved repair techniques for the Viking, so that they could all use their existing composite aircraft skills to the same method/standards. This of course would require moving outside the current 'comfort zone' a little and forming a team rather than going to one 'name brand' UK based supplier. They would have to be paid a rate that is enough for them to leave whatever they are doing now and go to this temporary job, and the RAF would have to recruit enough to really be able to recover 'in parallel' rather than the serial process they seem to be set on at the moment.

2. Continued airworthiness. Once the Recovery team has got them back up to the required standard, then the longer-term continued airworthiness (i.e. keeping them in that state) could be taken on by a smaller number of people or one organisation (aren't Tutors also relatively simple, composite light aircraft made by Grob? so the RAF does have some technical expertise available to them outside of the VGS and civvy clubs).

It all depends on how imaginative/motivated/funded the effort is. So I'm not holding my breath from the 'progress' so far

Flug
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Old 2nd Nov 2015, 06:11
  #823 (permalink)  
 
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The g115s are on the civilian register.
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Old 2nd Nov 2015, 08:41
  #824 (permalink)  
 
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Grob 115

The RAF has not light aircraft maintenance experience what so ever and the contractor who supplies the fleet is not approved for major repair of the aircraft.

The difference between the former glider contractor ant the contractor who supplies the Grob Tutors is that the glider contractor did not recognise the need to go out of house when a problem got to specialised for them, the contractor who supplies the Grob Tutors has the nouse to contract in specialist help when they don't have the capacity or expertees to do the job. An example of this was when the Tutor needed a traffic system fitted they got Grob to design the modification and Gama to do the Avionic fit.

The cadet glider grounding is an issue of poor management not a technical issue, the contractor did not put the right people in post and the reason for this they are not prepared to pay the rate for the job............and by the looks of things are still not able to see the results of not paying the going rate !

Flugplatz.

The glider and G115 construction is identical, but I don't see the need to sacrifice an airframe for maintenance training, there are enough bits of broken glider in the civil system that the clubs would part with for not a lot of money if training is needed.

Longer Ron.

The Viking fleet is basically sound from a technical point of view and with the right people put in place the airworthiness issues can be addressed at modest cost however those who undertake the task must have a clean sheet to deal with the issues and the previous contractor must have no input whatsoever.

The Grob 105 fleet is another matter, it has a very expensive engine retrofit needed and the replacement of these ( along with the maintenance cost saving ) may well favour replacement with new conventional gliders.
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Old 2nd Nov 2015, 09:07
  #825 (permalink)  
 
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Bring on the passion

BILL Yes this is complicated;but has been made complicated by the very system that is full of paid full time staff backing the system up.
This thread is different from many in that it really has unleashed some heartfelt passion to see the Corps continue to offer a unique service to its Cadets,with much of this coming from 'former' Cadets who feel the running of the organisation could be better served from the top.
The actual flying and servicing of the aircraft is most certainly NOT COMPLICATED hence the frustration that comes to the fore as those with only a pen/keyboard for ammunition are energised. I for one am deeply dismayed that a whole intake of Cadets have been let down by incompetence at the top and this has to be reversed. My letter to CAS Cmdt ATC and Sir Michael Fallon MP included the following lines

The chance for a youth to control a basic aircraft and actually being able to solo one can be a life changing experience that is repaid many times over when they enter adult life.The VGS have maintained the core delivery of safe flying for decades using volunteer staff and are an asset the RAF should be proud of.

OK it may not change anything, but at least 'they know that we know' what the score is and that something has to change to get back on track. PP

Last edited by POBJOY; 2nd Nov 2015 at 17:22.
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Old 2nd Nov 2015, 09:39
  #826 (permalink)  
 
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Grob engines

Hi A&C What is/were the issues with the Grob engine in the Vig.
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Old 2nd Nov 2015, 09:56
  #827 (permalink)  
 
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Pobjoy

The current engine fitted to the Grob 109 is out of production and the support is getting to be limited, for the private owner who flys the aircraft as a glider with the engine being used just to launch the aircraft this is not a big problem as the engine hours can be used sparingly.

The in air cadet flying the engine is never switched off so engine hours are used quickly.

Grob are offering an engine retrofit using the ( very good ) Rotax 912. When all is said and done the cost will be IRO 60K per aircraft.

As you might guess with the airframe recovery costs about the same as the Viking plus the 60K bill for the engine you could well be better off buying new gliders ( not motor gliders ) on a one for one basis and taking the advantage of lower maintenance costs.
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Old 2nd Nov 2015, 10:29
  #828 (permalink)  
 
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Grob Engine

A&C Was the existing Grob engine a 'in house' product or a adaptation.
Either way why can they not be o/h by an approved company.
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Old 2nd Nov 2015, 11:08
  #829 (permalink)  
 
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The design of the engine is Grob's modification (bore-out to 2500cc) of Porche's 4 pot Boxer.

Can't see where clubs would be saving engine hours by using them as SLG, There's a lot better performing "turbo" gliders on the market.
All the clubs I've visited use them for field landing checks, Comp "spotting" and as a cheap alternative to a light aircraft for touring/general handling. The glide ratio 28-30/1 isn't brilliant, but perfectly adequate for the jobs described above.

If the ACO did decide to re-engine with rotax 912's then they could add hooks and bring aerotowing capability back to the ATC.

The RAF does have a limited capability for light aircraft/glider support. The half dozen or so guys at Halton who run the RAFGSA centre, are all serving, or LEC, qualified on pistons/GRP/light airframe repair and did completely re-build three Pawnees (one of which is now part of the Glider-FX display team), whilst also keeping the GSA centre fleet and the Chip(super)munk fleet in the air.
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Old 2nd Nov 2015, 12:02
  #830 (permalink)  
 
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Having seen the Air Cadet Grob 109s (Vigilants) in action, I question the suitability of the Rotax 912 for the task.

Day after day, hour after hour, the Vigilants take off, fly a circuit and land. As a result, for a large part of the flight, the engine will be at the low RPMs which give the propeller gear reduction a pounding, due to the resulting torque reversal (the same thing which destroys dual mass flywheels and alternator belts in diesel cars).

The Jabiru 2200 has been proven in the 109; surely a direct drive engine such as this would be a simpler and less trouble-prone powerplant?

Last edited by Mechta; 2nd Nov 2015 at 12:32.
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Old 2nd Nov 2015, 12:10
  #831 (permalink)  
 
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But is it the CHEAPEST (and I don't mean the most ECONOMIC) solution
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Old 2nd Nov 2015, 13:26
  #832 (permalink)  
 
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Fluffy Bunny

The six guys at Halton may be technically sound but this glider recovery task is far too big for six guys who sound like they are busy enough as it is !
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Old 2nd Nov 2015, 13:40
  #833 (permalink)  
 
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You know, I can think of few events that have saddened me so much as this Air Cadet gliding fiasco. I find it hard to believe that it has gone on so long and that each mossy stone that is turned finds another stinking mess. The RAF, which I love dearly, should hang its head in shame, and apologise to near on 50,000 kids and their instructors who have been so badly let down.
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Old 2nd Nov 2015, 15:10
  #834 (permalink)  
 
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Seconded Wander - it is truly shameful that a force that was once (rightly) revered can't somehow manage to keep a fleet of around 100 simple sailplanes serviceable, or return at least some of them to service after a hiatus lasting over A YEAR AND A HALF! As a British aviator, I'm both disgusted and embarrassed in equal measures. And as Pobjoy has already pointed out, the actual flying and servicing of these aircraft is clearly NOT COMPLICATED.
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Old 2nd Nov 2015, 15:11
  #835 (permalink)  
 
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Perhaps a question in Parliament or by the defence committee is needed?
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Old 2nd Nov 2015, 18:32
  #836 (permalink)  
 
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Grob Engine

As i do not have a Vig to look at can someone tell me if the G109 engine has a VW base (unlikely to be Porsche).

What have been the actual real engine issues (not including carb icing or fuel line related)

Who maintains or overhauls those engine in the civvy world.

I think Limbach are still around (direct drive units) i not think anything with a g-box would be the answer.

For ATC use you need something that is as SIMPLE as it gets. Reliability is quite often a question of proper simple cooling and not having an engine installation that looks likes a robots intestines.I am a big fan of VW based units as they have prooved themselves for decades and have a huge aftermarket support.
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Old 2nd Nov 2015, 18:35
  #837 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by A and C View Post
<snip>

As you might guess with the airframe recovery costs about the same as the Viking plus the 60K bill for the engine you could well be better off buying new gliders ( not motor gliders ) on a one for one basis and taking the advantage of lower maintenance costs.
You might be if they were available off the shelf. The lead time for a new K21 is 6-9 months, and the difference in maintenance costs between a new pure glider and a well-used one is trivial.
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Old 2nd Nov 2015, 20:04
  #838 (permalink)  
 
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the G109 engine has a VW base (unlikely to be Porsche).
The VW Beetle engine (and the Transporter engine that forms the base of the Grob conversion) was designed by Ferdinand Porsche.
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Old 2nd Nov 2015, 20:29
  #839 (permalink)  
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https://email.number10.gov.uk

Sent my bit in. Reckon if loads of us email in it will get some big cheese help.
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Old 2nd Nov 2015, 20:47
  #840 (permalink)  
 
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Wikipedia suggests the Grob uses a Porsche engine as the basis for the engine in the 109, probably based either upon that in the Porsche 914/4 or the one in the later 912E which, in turn, was based upon the engine from the VW Type 4 cars.

http://www.airbornecomposites.co.uk/fly121.pdf

Power came from a 2 litre/80 hp Limbach, based on the Volkswagen ‘Type 4’ engine – the aircooled motor you’d originally have found under the rear luggage compartment of the 411 (remember them?) or more expensive versions
of the VW camper van. This gave the 109 just about enough performance, but Grob always wanted more. When Limbach failed to come up with the goods, Grob home-brewed the 2500 – a big-bore, 2.5 litre stretch of the VW engine that uses heads from Volkswagen partner Porsche’s hotter version of the Type 4 to give 95 horsepower at a reasonably propeller-friendly 3,500 rpm.
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